Birmingham Targets Indian Connection

A 20,000 signature petition has been delivered to the Indian Government’s Minister for Civil Aviation in Delhi to show the strong demand in the UK’s Midlands for the reintroduction of direct non-stop flights between Birmingham and India.  Councillor Mike Whitby, leader of Birmingham City Council, launched the petition after Air India moved its Delhi-Amritsar-Birmingham-Toronto service to London after securing additional slots at Heathrow Airport.
“I’ve been the Chief Executive of the airport now for over a year and I still find it incredible that although there are around 350,000 people of Indian origin living in the one-hour catchment area, there hasn’t been a direct flight to India since October 2008,” said Paul Kehoe, CEO of Birmingham Airport.
He believes that past traffic data for Air India’s flights from Amritsar and Delhi to Birmingham and on to Toronto will help attract a new airline onto the route.  “In the last year of operation alone it [Air India] carried 100,000 people and its load factors were often more than 85% full,” he added.
According to statistics used to support Birmingham’s ‘Fly India’ campaign there are estimated to be 1.3million Indian people living in England, and the city of Birmingham alone has five times as many Indians as the city of Manchester.  Outside of London, the West Midlands has more Indians living within it than any other region in England, with 15% of England’s total, some 200,000 people, it is claimed.